Re: U.S. Appeals Court Rules Spanish Museum May Keep Nazi Looted Art #holocaust #announcements


Adam Cherson
 

I thank Prof. Gath for the additional information regarding Pissaro's ancestry, which is a fascinating twist to the story (this seems like an interesting novel for those who are interested: https://repeatingislands.com/2015/09/14/the-marriage-of-opposites-who-was-rachel-pissarro-camilles-mother/). I would not say it is legally 'wrong' to identify Camille Pissarro as Danish-French. He was born in the Danish colony of St. Thomas to a mother who was from a family of French Jews and a father who was from a family of French Jews of Portuguese extraction. Pissarro's father was a prominent merchant on the island of St. Thomas, whose island economy provided much of Pissarro's wherewithal throughout his life. Pissarro studied painting in France, his paintings executed mostly in France, are predominantly of French landscapes and French urban scenes (with some other Northern European scenes as well), and he married and had children in France with a French-Catholic woman. So perhaps a more accurate description would be to say that Pissarro was a French Jew born on Danish territory (of Sephardic descent on his father's side, not sure of his mother's). I do not know whether St. Thomas or Israel or France or somewhere else would be the most justified place for this painting to be exhibited, but it would seem that Madrid isn't of much relevance to the story, unless one considers the Spanish and later Portuguese expulsions to have initiated the chain of events which eventually lead to St. Thomas, which would be of course the most ironic ending of all: a museum in the place that expelled Pissarro's ancestors now owning the painting, which in turn could be a good thing if it were used to show the error and harm of Spain's arbitrary ethnic cleansing of Jews 500 years ago. I personally would like to see the tiny Caribbean island which fomented Camille Pissarro's artistic output get the credit for at least one of his roughly 1,600 works. I also think it makes sense for his works to be on exhibit in France, the Dominican Republic (mother's family), Israel, Portugal, and yes even in Spain. Camille Pissarro was a product of all these places, and probably more. I am reading that Pissarro was also an anarchist politically (which is not to be confused with someone who advocates for what we think of today as anarchy). Is there a museum somewhere for anarchist painters I wonder :-)

Adam Cherson

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